MCN caught up with Brands Hatch British Superbike qualifying sensation, Jon Kirkham, who was drafted into the Rob Mac Racing Yamaha team at the last minute just moments before today’s qualifying session.
Harris had set the fastest times in both Friday’s afternoon Free Practice session and this morning’s practice period, but according to the team had to leave the circuit for personal family reasons.
As a result Kirkham, who last weekend won the Henderson R1 Cup title and is second in the Metzler National Superstock Championship on the Raceways Yamaha, got an urgent call from Rob McElnea to replace Harris.
Kirkham spoke to MCN, saying: “I had just got back to the motorhome after doing back-to-back sessions in the R1 Cup and Superstocks when Rob phoned me.
“He told me to get my leathers on and get to the garage as soon as possible.
“I got the pit and we changed the bars and the levers to suit me and out I went.
“I thought, as long as I make it into the top 20 of qualifying I’ll be happy.
“But I was really happy when I got into the final phase of qualifying.
“Michael Rutter bumped me down a place in the dying seconds of he session so I’ll start from ninth.”
It’s not Kirkham’s first time on the bike.
He rode the Rob Mac Racing R1 over 20 laps at Cadwell Park in a short test.
“When I rode the bike it wasn’t quite right for me.
“Cadwell isn’t really the right place to try to learn a new bike because it’s so tight.
“And even today I had a problem getting my head around having the added horsepower on the superbike and had a coupl of moments.”
The 23-year old hasn’t secured a ride for 2009 just yet, but has set his sights on a return to BSB.
At Silverstone I had a few deals on the table, but since then it’s going a little bit quiet.
“Hopefully this will put me back in the frame and I’ll get to see what level these boys are at.”